Who should take responsibility for new business?

by georgetc

Marketing agencies come in all shapes and sizes. Each year sees advances in the industry which result in an increasingly diverse creative eco system as more and more specialist disciplines spring up.

However, one thing agencies both old and new will have in common is the need to sell their services and bring in new customers. So who within an agency should take responsibility or be accountable for business development. Is it really the head of the agency?

Historically, Alchemis has dealt primarily with business owners and MDs. They tended to be our point of contact, the attendees on meetings and our liaison for campaign strategy, and in many instances, rightly so. To a degree, we like the person writing the cheque to be the one attending the appointments to gauge the quality of delivery. However, more and more, we are working with and helping clients to develop much more structure within their agencies when it comes to new business.

A campaign needs:

  • A driver – this typically will be the MD or high level Director within an agency
  • A lead generator – this could be internal resource or an external agency like Alchemis to cover the hard ground, canvassing relevant prospects, building relationships and campaign equity to deliver timely and quality appointments for the salesperson. Gathering direct feedback from the market, this resource should help to dictate the direction of the campaign based on quantitative analysis of activity and qualitative feedback directly from prospects
  • A salesperson – this may be the MD/Owner, or it may be dedicated resource brought in to engage, impress and close new business opportunities. A dedicated resource here is important as it brings continuity and, as such, objective measurability to a campaign. With lots of people attending meetings based on who may be available, you simply don’t get this as one person may be great in sales meetings and another not so proficient
  • An organiser and main point of contact – someone who can act as the lynchpin between an outside agency like Alchemis and internal people with individual responsibilities for new business. As well as co-ordinating meeting and diaries, they may produce supporting collateral and information.

It is feasible for these roles to be shared or even handled successfully by one person, but in our experience, it is important that everyone in the new business process has clear and defined responsibilities. If not, who is accountable for what? If you can’t answer that, then you have no control over your new business process.

If roles are defined and responsibilities taken, a strategy can be delivered that is:

  • Objective, with defined goals, based on what is reasonable and practical to achieve
  • Focused on the market as the lead generator and salesperson will have quantitative information and qualitative views on verticals, agency proposition and messages/hooks
  • Integrated – new business channels can be tied together rather than operating in silos, making all of them more effective

Alchemis works with clients to define these responsibilities within an agency, but whether we help or you get systems in place yourself, it is critical to have a structure and plan. If you would like to discuss your specific new business challenges, please contact us.